When Markus and I took a refresher First Aid class just before baby Stephanie was born, our teacher opened with a story of two young mums she had encountered recently at a local cafe. Talking and gesturing with her hands, one of the women knocked a freshly filled hot cup of coffee off the table and into the pram with a baby. Neither of the mothers nor any of the cafe staff knew what to do to help the poor screaming infant. Thank goodness our First Aid teacher was there!
That story stuck with me. Knowing first aid and remembering it at the crucial moment are often different things, and I have worried from time to time that my memory would fail me when I needed it. Today, I got a good test, thankfully on myself and neither of the girls. I reheated a cup of tea in the microwave while chasing kiddos, and clearly, the cook time was too long! When I reached in to lift out the mug (with baby Stephanie wrapped around my leg), I immediately noticed how over-hot the mug was. Not wanting to make any sudden moves and slosh the liquid onto either of us, I as-quickly-and-carefully as possible moved the mug to the countertop...but that took enough time to sear the everlivin' crap out of my thumb. I immediately turned on the sink to ice cold water (thank you winter pipes!) and let it run over my thumb and fingers. The thumb was stiff and turned white instantly. So there I stood with the ice cold water running over my thumb, thinking, "Well, this is the moment! And I don't remember what to do! What did she tell us to do for burns? I can't remember!" After several minutes, I switched to a glass of ice water with some ice cubes floating in it so I could get a phone and call Markus to ask what he remembered. And the answer?
Submerge the burned area in cold (ideally) running water for 20 minutes.
I really didn't think I remembered what to do, but clearly I did remember. I acted instantly and, although the burned area is still white and very damaged, I probably saved my thumb from extreme nastiness, as the cold water dissipates the heat and prevents the burn from getting worse (did you know that burns continue to worsen well after the heat source is removed?). I highly recommend everyone take a basic First Aid course if you haven't recently done so.
Oh, and don't grab too-hot porcelain with your bare hands. That's a good take-home tip too.